Chinese New Year was recently celebrated by many and it was great to see a Chopped themed episode for the Lunar New Year a few weeks ago on Food Network. Kathy Fang, Owner of Fang Restaurant in SF, displayed her culinary talents and her ability to cook under pressure and was crowned Chopped Champion. We caught up with her recently to learn more about her and her experience on the show.
FP: Tell us about your experience on Chopped. What did you learn from being on the show?
KF: Never second guess yourself. Go in and do what you love doing and let the rest just come to you. And never be afraid to fail.
FP: Great advice not just for Chopped, but life in general. You have an informative blog, www.myfanglicious.com. How did you get started with blogging?
KF: I started blogging within the first year of opening Fang. It was supposed to be an outlet for myself. I love cooking at home when I’m not working and also am a huge fan of food photography. I thought the blog would be the perfect way to share all the recipes I love making outside of Fang and it gave me a reason to learn food photography. It ultimately just comes down to my passion for food and the desire to share what I love to do with others.
FP: On the topic of cooking at home, what are some of your favorite meals to cook for yourself? Or for friends?
KF: I love making pasta! Although Chinese food is what I grew up on, I feel like I’m part Italian when it comes to comfort food at home. Nothing beats a nice bowl of pasta made out of scratch. It’s the perfect dish to make for friends. Throw in a few bottles of wine and it’s just heaven.
When I’m cooking for myself, soups are one of my favorite meals to make. It’s comforting and reminds me of my mom and grandma. It allows for some many different variations. You can make new soups every week and it will never get old! 🙂
FP: We like the sound of soups and pasta! We hear SF is a tremendous foodie destination. Where are some of your favorite places to eat in the city?
KF: Kokkari– This is one of the best Greek restaurants I’ve ever been to in California. It’s an institution. The food is consistently delicious every time I go. Think succulent lamb chops, light fluffy zucchini cakes, roasted branzino, moussaka, etc. Their yogurt ice cream with seasonal fruit granola is the BOMB!
FP: That sounds delicious right about now! What are some of your guilty pleasures? We call them foodie pleasures, hence the name 😉
KF: McDonald’s Sausage Egg McMuffin and hash browns- It’s something I treat myself to airports when I’m traveling. It’s delicious but so bad for you.
In-N-Out-It’s the best fast food burger. So perfectly balanced with the bread, lettuce, tomato, and a patty. Double Double with animal fries and a shake 🙂
FP: Name some chefs you would enjoy cooking in the kitchen with and why.
Thomas Keller– He’s like the godfather of all chefs. It’s amazing how many great chefs have churned out of the French Laundry. I would love to be around someone that is so well-respected and talented. Plus there is this zen like aura around him that it very magnetic.
Jiro Ono– Who wouldn’t want to work next to this legend. He reminds me of what my father would be like 10 years from now. So old school and devoted to his restaurant.
Grant Achatz– I watched this whole special/documentary on him and I actually cried. He’s talented, inspirational and a fighter. I would love to be around such a chef in my lifetime and say I was able to work side by side with him.
David Chang-Again, a talented chef but something tells me it would be a riot to work in the kitchen with him:)
FP: All extremely talented and respected chefs indeed! If you could get on a plane tomorrow and visit any place just for its food, where would it be?
KF: Japan (Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka). Every time I go, I never feel I have enough time to eat my way through. Sushi, ramen, udon, yakitori, shabu, izakaya, just to name a few things to eat there.
FP: Oh yes, Japan is definitely on our list. We could eat sushi and ramen all day! If you weren’t a chef, what would you be doing? What are some of your non-cooking interests and hobbies?
KF: If I wasn’t a chef, I would be either working for some large food company like Whole Foods or Nestle or I would be working in media for fashion or travel. I’m a visual person so I like working with things I can see.
Hobbies: I love working out and boxing. Boxing allows for a release in pent up stress and that is needed rather often, especially when you run a large restaurant everyday.
FP: Half of FP (Allen) just signed up for boxing and is looking forward to it! Thank you for your time. If we visit SF, we’ll be sure to stop by Fang Restaurant. We wish you continued success!